In this article I’m going to share 5 further strategies that can help you to survive and thrive during a recession. These strategies, if applied consistently, will enable you to build a solid business whatever the economic climate. Each of these tips and strategies are relevant regardless of whether we’re in a recession but the reality is that many personal trainers don’t use them. In times of prosperity you might get away with it but when the economy is on a down turn, these strategies become imperative.
Plan the year ahead
This might sound obvious but the majority of personal trainers don’t do it. It’s said that the person with the clearest plan, the strongest sense of purpose and conviction, is the one who wins. Without a clear plan you drift, you are led, you make poor decisions and you leave your success up to chance. It’s absolutely crucial to spend quality time thinking about the results you want to achieve in your business for the year ahead. In times of recession your planning is critical because what worked last year won’t necessarily work for you now. Once you know the results you want to achieve you can decide which strategies to use to get there. Most people want to run before they can walk. They want to get on with things rather than take the time to plan. Yet the more detailed and real you can make your plans, the more you can see what you need to do to achieve them, and the more likely you are to follow through.
Keep filling your marketing funnel
If you want to be assured of a steady flow of clients you need to make sure that you’re constantly introducing the right kind of people into your business. Not everyone will be right for you or ready for investing in your services. This is true regardless of the economic climate. Right now most of your potential customers are strangers to you. They neither know, like, nor trust you. You need to find a way to regularly introduce your target customers to you and your business because a percentage of those will become your clients. The most common promotional strategy used by personal trainers is leaflets and business cards with the offer usually being a free consultation or introductory training session. However, the number of people who will leap at this offer will be limited because it’s too big a leap. Not only that but free training sessions are very time consuming for you and once you do have a busy schedule of clients then how do you continue to fit in time for free sessions? More importantly do you want to be giving large chunks of your time away for free? Attracting the right number of clients to invest in your highest priced service is a numbers game. Consider other ways of introducing potential customers to your business; methods that accommodate larger numbers. This might be a free tele-seminar, a free report or, if you want people to meet you then at least create a session that can cater for more than one person.
Get focused on your customer’s goals
This applies to existing customers as well as new ones. Unless your customers are connected with their goals, and with the benefits and results they will gain by working with you, they will be more likely to stop in times of economic recession when they have to start making investment choices. People tend to panic and cut their spending and their decisions will be based on the return they get for their investment; on how important it is to them. If training sessions with you are considered a luxury, a nice to have but not necessary, then they will stop investing in them. The training sessions you deliver, if delivered well, should provide immense value and benefit with respect to a persons health, fitness and well being. You need to spend time with your clients to understand what they want, what they need, what’s important to them (not you) and agree goals that are challenging and valuable to them. In this way you help to identify a significant gap that exists for your clients; one that you are best placed to fill. The moment you become surplus to requirement, the moment they think you have given all you can give, helped them all you can, you’re fired.
Be flexible in your offering
If you can offer flexibility in the ways in which your clients can work with you, you’re more likely to be able to accommodate a larger number of clients. If the only option is 1-1 training then it’s likely that you’re missing out on lots of potential customers who would be willing to work with you in a different way. Offering group training, remote or online support or information products that support your clients’ goals; all of these things allow people to invest in you at the right price for them at any given time. Look at your current offering. Is it meeting all of your clients’ needs? How else could you provide valuable service? What else could you offer?
Expand your networks and contacts
In times of recession it’s no time to be on your own, working in isolation. There is strength in numbers. Building up your contacts can create great opportunities, both for you and for them. Work on identifying other professionals who could joint venture with you in some way. Perhaps they have a relevant product or service for your target market which could really benefit your clients. Perhaps you have a service or product that could benefit their clients. Maybe you could create or deliver something together. Not only does this provide added and continued value for your existing customers but it generates additional income streams which will contribute to the financial health of your business. Identify professionals who simply have skills, experience and knowledge that you need to grow your business and find ways to exchange skills. Simple conversations often hold golden nuggets of experience or ideas that you can use within your own business. The message here is don’t hide away. You need to be out there, talking to people, telling them what you do and finding out how you might be able to help them. The opportunities are always out there but you need to be out there too to find them.
A business tip from one business owner to another
Procrastination is the greatest thief of time – stop putting things off. In these challenging times it will be the action takers who survive.
Yvette Nevrkla – accomplished business coach, author of the book, The PT Business Gym, and founder of The PT Business Gym which is a business providing business coaching and mentoring support and resources specifically for personal trainers. If you’re a personal trainer with aspirations and big plans for your business then visit www.theptbusinessgym.com where you can sign up to receive a FREE chapter from The PT Business Gym book.